2012 Softball Preview: Battery
Feb. 8, 2012
SEATTLE - In the final preview of 2012 before the Huskies begin play against Nebraska in Tempe, Ariz., on Thursday, head coach Heather Tarr talks about the pitchers and catchers.
Junior Shawna Wright (Lancaster, Calif.) returns as the starting catcher the past two seasons and transfer Lindsay Monk (Menifee, Calif.) will also add depth. UW will once again have depth in the circle as four pitchers return and on freshman joins the staff, led by sophomore Kaitlin Inglesby (Portland, Ore.).
"It's no secret she's the pitcher on our staff with the most experience," said Tarr. "She had very good freshman season, all things considered. We will rely on her heavily again this year. She's been in the circle for a regional championship win and a super regional series in a hostile environment. Those experiences will do nothing but help her compete this year."
Inglesby went 25-10 in 2011 with a 2.38 ERA. She pitched 21 complete games with three shutouts and three saves. She had 169 strikeouts on her way to earning Newcomer of the Year at the WESPYs, the NCAA Seattle Regional All-Tournament MVP, Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors, named to the Pac-10 All-Freshmen Team and First-Team All-Pacific Region.
"She has as good of hand eye coordination as anyone I've coached," Tarr added. "Plain and simple she can dominate a game in the circle, and at the plate. She is also one of the best two-way players in the college game. We expect her to focus on continuing to improve the command of all her pitches. She can go up, down and change. We're excited to see her continued improvement."
Inglesby was just as impressive at at the plate as a freshman, batting .422 with 49 hits, 17 runs, eight doubles, 11 home runs, 40 RBIs and 10 walks.
After an injury plagued freshman year, fellow sophomore Bryana Walker (La Quinta, Calif.) looks to push Inglesby for time in the circle. In 2011 she made 13 appearances, 10 starts and posted a 3-5 record.
"Bryana has done a nice job thus far," Tarr said. "She is continuing to improve and refine her game. She is a very intelligent kid who can make an impact for us."
The one newcomer to the staff is freshman Kasey Stancheck from El Dorado Hills, Calif. She played on one of the most competitive club teams in the nation in Phil Mumma's Sorcerer's program where she earned numerous all-state, all-city and all-conference honors.
"Kasey is another one of those bright kids who knows how to pitch," said Tarr. "We're excited to see what she can do."
Sophomore Whitney Jones (Upland, Calif.) and senior Jenna Clifton (Glendale, Ariz.) also figure into the Huskies' pitching plan in 2012. Jones, a lefty, and Clifton, a right hander, serve in more a relief type role to start the season.
"Jones and Clifton will get big outs for us this year," Tarr said. "It's hard to tell on the eve of the season opening weekend, exactly when, but it will happen. Both are battled tested and have faced some of the best college hitters in the game. Whitney is very tough in relief situations and Clifton has good command of the strike zone."
The Huskies now have two legitimate catchers in the mix for 2012. The addition of junior college transfer Monk from Riverside, Calif., is a definite depth upgrade for the position which Wright has manned for the last two seasons. Wright is looking to rebound from a sluggish offensive campaign in 2011. Wright is considered by many to be one of the top defensive catcher's in college softball. She was a member of the Team USA Futures team the summer following her freshman year in 2012.
"Shawna is an absolute stud defensively," Tarr said. "She shuts down opposing running games. Her arm strength and release are off the charts. Offensively, we are looking towards her continued improvement. She has plus power and has driven in some big time runs for us during her career. We expect that to continue. Shawna has done a noticeably better job of being consistent with her on-field leadership and defensive situational command thus far."
About Monk, Tarr said, "Lindsay is a welcome addition. Her presence alone has made a big difference on what we have been able to do development- wise with our team. She is a steady worker. We know what we'll get from her."